Two of the three white men convicted of Ahmaud Arbery’s murder in Georgia repeatedly used racial slurs on social media and in text messages, an FBI witness testified on Wednesday in their federal hate crimes trial, Courthouse News Service reports. FBI intelligence analyst Amy Vaughan gave several hours of detailed testimony, walking jurors through more than two dozen instances of racist language and violent sentiments expressed in the months and years before Arbery's killing by Travis McMichael, who fatally shot the 25-year-old Black man, and William “Roddie” Bryan, who filmed the shooting. Evidence laid out during Vaughan’s testimony showed that Travis McMichael frequently referred to Black people as “savages” and “monkeys,” often associating them with criminality in private messages with friends and public social media posts.
In one text message exchange with a friend who complained about the number of Black people at a restaurant, the younger McMichael suggested, “Need to change the name from Cracker Barrel to Nigger Bucket.” The conversation took place in January 2019, one year before Arbery’s murder. In March of that year, Vaughan said, McMichael spoke to another friend about why he loved his job: “Not a nigger in sight… Love it. Zero niggers work with me.” The evidence of Travis McMichael’s use of racist and violent language piled up throughout the morning. Evidence culled from McMichael’s social media accounts showed his response to a video of a Black man playing a prank on a white man: “I’d kill that fucking nigger.” A video of a Black man lighting a firecracker inside his nostril prompted him to comment, “Been cooler if it blew that fucking nigger’s head off.”